Bone cancer is a widespread problem in dogs. Although it can affect any dog, it is more common in larger breeds and older dogs.
Bone Cancer in Dog FAQs
- The most common type of dog bone cancer is osteosarcoma, which affects 85% of dogs with the disease and accounts for 8,000 cases yearly in the U.S. alone.
- It can also occur in any part of the dog’s body, but it more often develops in the upper arm close to the shoulder, the area over the wrist joint, the upper tibia, upper portion of the tibia and the lower part of the thigh.
- The effect of bone cancer in dogs’ life expectancy is that it decreases it, and the problem could lower the quality of life in these pets’ already short-lived lives.
Bone Cancer in Dogs Symptoms
Symptoms of bone cancer in dogs could be hard to detect, thus, awareness is the best defense against it especially that late detection could result in metastasis of the tumor to other parts of the body including the lungs. Here are some of its common symptoms:
- Dogs with bone cancer usually experience lameness in the affected bone. The degree of lameness increases as the cancer spreads in the area.
- In advanced cases, pronounced swelling over the bone can also be noticed.
- Because bone cancer can be extremely painful in dogs, they usually show signs of weakness, loss of appetite and significant loss of weight.
Treatment for Bone Cancer in Dogs
- Before undergoing surgery or therapy, dogs could be administered with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the lameness of the affected limp.
- In more serious cancer cases like osteosarcoma, the most recommended treatment is amputation to remove the tumor.
- Amputation is usually followed with 5 to 6 sessions of chemotherapy to ensure that the cancerous cells are eradicated. Without chemotherapy, the dog’s life could be extended for 3 to 5 months only compared to when it undergone it, allowing the pet to live longer for a year or more.
Owners who do not elect amputation and/or chemotherapy could request for palliative treatment to decrease the amount of pain experienced by their dog. Options include palliative radiation therapy and use of bisphosphonates and analgesics.